Aug 31 2009 - Krishna Talk 87

The following lecture by Srila Sarasvati Thakura was first published in The Gaudiya, Volume 11, no.22, January 1933 and is being presented here in English for the first time.

Rupa Goswami Samadhi

At the end of December 1933, the Gaudiya Matha in Dacca launched the transcendental diorama exhibition. Acaryadeva Srila Sarasvati Thakura arrived in Dacca to participate in its opening. In the afternoon on December 24th, Srila Prabhupada, surrounded by his close associates, began to speak about the position and duty of a tridandi-sannyasi:

Atyahara (the urge to devour more or collect more than necessary) causes death to the living entity. Jihvopastha-jayo dhrtih (steadiness in conquering the urges of the tongue and genitals) — those who aspire for auspiciousness should abide by this sloka, but it should not be artificial as we see with the Mayavadis and the false renunciants. The senses can only be conquered by cultivating a spirit of service. In a verse from his swan-like poetry, Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhu has told:

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

A self-controlled person who can overcome the impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to instruct the whole world. (Upadesamrta 1)

Sriman Mahaprabhu has said:

gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe
bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe

Do not hear mundane talks and do not speak about mundane topics. Do not eat very palatable food, nor dress very luxuriously. (Cc. Antya 6.236)

Songs about Sri Radha-Govinda and mundane talks (gramya-varta) are not the same thing. Songs about Nagna-ryama (naked Kali), folksongs about rani, Satya-Narayana, Ghetu-devi, Makala-devi, Candi, Manasa-devi, songs about village gods etc, topics about worldly auspiciousness and inauspiciousness, sense-enjoyment or the dry renunciation of enjoyment are all considered to be mundane talks. And who engages in useless talks the most? The archeologists, epigraphists etc.

To conquer the urge of the tongue and genitals is called dhrti. Those who have become tridandis have conquered their body, mind and words. News found in periodicals is full ofmundane talks. It is impossible for tridandis to read such newspapers that report topics of the illusory world (maya-katha). By reading them the consciousness no longer cooperates and becomes an enemy to us. “So-and-so did this, so-and-so did that” – by reading such things, adversity and material desires are created. In the world of our dreams we long to become extremely rich with the desire to become respected for our wealth – thus the teachings of Carvaka (the scholar of Brhaspati-Nyaya), Akbar and Jahangir’s teachings on royal pleasures, Napoleon’s teachings on bravery, Methuselah’s teachings of benevolence for all men etc. are greatly relished. We think that their advice will fulfill our dreams of becoming powerful. In this way Thakura Mahasaya has said:

rajara ye rajya-pata, yena natuyara nata

A monarch’s kingdom is just like the dramatic performance of an actor. (Prema-bhakti-candrika 6.14)

The Highest Ideal is to Become a Tridandi

Those who are averse to devotion think, “I shall go on doing everything, but I shall not serve the Supreme Lord. Let idle gossip, narrow-minded ideas, and worldly affairs fill every second of my life.” By some means to achieve auspiciousness, they will build so many moats and fortresses for their protection. They argue that watering tulasi is a waste of time – it is better to spend both time and money in watering eggplants, because then they can eat more eggplants. But who will eat those eggplants? If monkeys take those eggplants, then they won’t be able to eat them, and if the monkeys steal them they will simply be forced to compete with them!

In human life, the highest ideal is to become a tridandi. The meaning of tridandi is one who does not demand respect for one’s self. He is respectful to others, he is tolerant and he glorifies Hari. The Vaisnava is a demigod, yet he does not consider himself as a demigod. A tridandi means nirasir-nirnamas-kriyah – a tridandi does not bless anybody nor does he accept any respects from anyone. But if one does not offer his respects to a tridandi and does not accept his blessing of krsne matirastu (‘May you always remember Krsna’), one must fast as atonement. As many times that one does not offer obeisance, that many times he should fast. It is the foremost duty of a brahmana to accept the tridanda.

The Worship of Demigods

By worshipping the demigods material obstacles will be destroyed, and one’s path for sense gratification thus becomes unhindered. Ganesa removes the obstacles of the sensual worshipper, Surya removes the obstacles that hinder dharma (or punya). He removes darkness and gives light. Sakti gives mystical perfection to fulfill one’s desires. Ravana worshipped Sakti in order to kidnap Sita. A worshipper of the material energy becomes close to Sakti and attains power and tries to steal the sakti from Sakti! Those that worship Rudra are able to perform all types of destructive activities. The worshippers of Ganesa, Surya, Sakti and Rudra are all self-worshippers and iconoclasts.

Those that worship Visnu do not ask for anything. In fact, Visnu takes everything from the living entity. The devotees of Visnu do not simply worship Him with sandalwood paste and flowers. Offering sandalwood paste and flowers means that they do not enjoy the fragrance for themselves. Some consider Visnu as a temporary deity and imagine that by attaining perfection one may be able to destroy Krsna. Such people think that Visnu is simply one of the panca-devatas and is a nonpermanent entity. This is against the conclusions of Vyasa, and also against the conclusions of the Vedas. Vyasa states:

visnau sarvesvarese tad-itara-samadhir yasya va naraki sah

Visnu is the Supreme Controller of all. One who thinks otherwise is a resident of hell. (Padma Purana)

The Vedas say –

om tad visno paramam padam

The lotus feet of Visnu are above all. (Rg Veda 1.22.20)

Those that consider Visnu and other demigods to be equal are impersonalists (nirvisesavadis). The sutra that these ‘killers of all gods’ continually chant is sivo’ham sivo’ham! (“I am Siva, the destroyer of all”).

brahmacaryam tapah saucam
santoso bhuta-sauhrdam
grhasthasyapy rtau gantuh
sarvesam mad-upasanam

A householder should approach his wife at the proper time for begetting progeny. Otherwise he should practice celibacy, austerity and cleanliness. He should remain satisfied and cultivate friendship with all living beings. All living entities should worship Me. (Bhag. 11.18.43)

Only Visnu should be worshipped without exception and all other fabricated deities that are worshipped and traded with are simply servants. One Krsna is better than millions of others. By worshipping Him, all other worship is complete. O men! Grhasthas, brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis —you are all brahmanas (descendants of Brahma). Sarve brahmaja brahmanas ca – Sri Krsna says, “Worship Me alone with everything you have; My service is your duty. You have no other duty than this. Your eyes, ears, mouth, nose – give everything in service to Me “.

Using the Tridanda to Make a Living

“O brother, If there is no mung-dahl then I will fast!” – these types are sadhus in name only. They cannot become real sadhus. Some people say: “In India there are 44 lakhs of sadhus who couldn’t collect the money to get married. Because they have no money to wash their clothes, they put on saffron cloth.”

Renunciation of the world, abstention, austerities and so forth are not the symptoms of a sadhu. The ant says, “Look, how much the elephant eats! I do not eat so much, I only eat a small amount.” Therefore, according to this logic, the ant is a great sadhu! But the elephant carrys Krsna on his back to Samanta-pancaka, whereas the ant simply bites Krsna. The elephant eats a large amount and carries and serves Krsna, and the ant eats very little and only sinks his teeth into Krsna. Many times we see ‘sannyasis’ who have renounced the use of eating from metal utensils living under a tree. But while living under a tree, all they have learned is how to smoke ganja. If they had not become sannyasis for the sake of smoking ganja and remained at home, they may well have been considered to be better renunciants.

Tridandam-upajivati (accepting the tridanda in order to make a living) — “ I have accepted shelter in the matha because here I can eat well.” If we accept the bhiksu-asrama in order to collect money, then the tridanda simply becomes an instrument for financial gain.

The rule of our Gaudiya Matha is that sannyasis, brahmacaris and vanaprasthas should not wear fancy clothes, should not possess footwear, should not collect even one penny for their personal needs. But they can collect money for Vaisnava seva. The activities of the 44 lakhs of so-called sadhus in India has nothing in common with the activities of Sri Gaudiya Matha.

In Sri Gaudiya Matha, the brahmacaris, sannyasis etc. are all bhiksus. I ask them to go out and beg. I alone have accepted the responsibility for this activity and in this work I will not bypass any house. Therefore I constantly send our men from door to door everywhere for bhiksa. For our preaching of the Holy Name of Krsna, for the sake of benefiting this world, we will approach everyone and accept something from them to use in Krsna’s service. Simply to collect money and convert it into stool and urine is the occupation of monkeys, not of the Gaudiya Matha. It is necessary to engage billions of Vaisnavas — such a service is assigned to me.

There is the community of tridandi-sannyasis, and most of them belong to one and the same category. However, the paramahamsa is not amongst them – he is special. He does not belong to any community or class. He is of a very special category.

Are We Tridandis?

Our Professor Sanyal receives his salary and gives all of it for krsna-seva, so that we are not without money. So, is he a tridandi or are we tridandis? Go and collect food and money for Krsna – then bring everything to me.

For the sake of pure hari-seva and in order that pure hari-katha will be preached in a straightforward manner throughout the world, I am ready to give our preachers thousands and thousands of motor cars. There is no objection to this. But why should somebody with a sensual mentality ride in a motorcar? He has no qualification to ride in a motorcar. He will simply become a visayi. One who does not want to serve Hari, Guru and Vaisnava strongly desires to ride in a motorcar in order to be seen as a great person. Such a gross piece of flesh should not be allowed to drive in a motorcar because such a materialistic sense-enjoyer will simply ride that vehicle down the road leading to hell. He will simply turn it into a machine to make a living. What is the necessity for somebody to drive a car when they are not sincerely engaging their mind body and words in the worship of Hari, and when they are not giving everything to Hari, Guru and Vaisnava? Moreover, the Sahajiya sampradaya will increase because we will have created another type, then we will certainly be destroyed.

Therefore I have made this proposal – tridandi-sannyasis! All of you please come to Ekayana Gaudiya Matha. Please do not do any more bhiksa. I shall go out on madhukari-bhiksa and feed you. Why do you wish to imitate me? I am not a tridandi. I am most fallen. You are not fallen – you are pavana (saviors of the fallen). I have accepted you as my gurus, so why do you represent yourselves as something different? May the tridandi-bhiksus use their body, mind and words at every moment in the service of Hari. With what hopes and with what expectations did we come to do hari-bhajana – and where have those hopes and expectations gone now?